This tour visits several locations associated with two of Scotland's most well known historical figures, King Robert the Bruce (1300's) and Robert Burns (late 1700's), Scotland's national bard (poet). Bruce fought battles in Galloway and there are also several sites of interest in Dumfries and surrounding area which we visit. Robert Burns lived, worked and wrote many of his peoms and songs in this region. He is buried in Dumfries, where Burns House and the Burns Centre are open to the public, as is his favourite howff (pub), the Globe Inn for a beer or whisky. Whisky is also a theme of the tour, not least because the Annandale whisky distillery, which we visit, features two new whiskies named after the heritage of both of these characters in this area.
Day 1 - Gatehouse of Fleet and Kirkcudbright Circuit
Depending on the abilities of the participants, we have the option to cycle to neighbouring town Gatehouse of Fleet - to visit the Murray Arms Hotel, where on the underside of a stair you can see the reference to the patriotic song, 'Scots Whae Hae' being written here. If the extra miles is too far for some, we can use our minibus to help.
We the cycle on to Kirkcudbright and visit the National Trust for Scotland's Broughton House which has a significant collection of works by and about Robert Burns. It may be that a former president of the World Global Burns Federation, 'friend' of Broughton House and cyclist, woud be available to conduct a tour or later at your hotel, the Selkirk Arms, with Burns lounge where 'the Selkirk Grace' is prominent.
Day 2 - Castle Douglas to Dumfries
In Day 2, we cycle on a spectacular countryside route to Ellisland Farm where Robert Burns worked as a farmer. The farm is preserved as a visitor centre. We can take a walk where Burns walked beside the River Nith. We then head to Dumfries, the largest town in the region to your accommodation.
Day 3 - Explore Dumfries / part Rest Day
In Day 3 we explore the Bruce and Burns places of interest in Dumfries. There are several bike routes including one by the River Nith, with the Robert Burns Centre adjacent and Dumfries musuem with Robert Bruce artefacts nearby. Burns's House is preserved and well worth a visit, before viewing a memorial garden featuring some of his work and then a walk nearby to his mausoleum in St Michael's churchyard. There are both Robert the Bruce and Robert Burns 'town trails'. We will choose the best parts and havea leisurely day, with the option to do a wee bit of extra cycling by the riverside. Tonight we will have a whisiky tasting session. A local club 'The Drambusters' may even be having a guest evening. You stay in the same accommodation again.
Day 4 - Dumfries to Annan
On Day 4 we join the riverside cyclepath and follow the river estuary out of town towards the Solway Firth for a fairly flat cycle today. Again there are several places of interest relating to both Burns and Bruce along the way, including Caerlaverock Castle and the Brow Well, where Burns bathed prior to his death. We have chosen Annan as your accommodation tonight as the Annandale whisky distillery is nearby - where we will do a tour and learn about the new Burns and Bruce whiskies.
Day 5 - Annan via Gretna Green to Lockerbie
On your last day we visit the famous Gretna Green marriage and visitor centre where there are still severeal weddings most days. We then visit King Robert the Bruce's cave, accessed by a walkway along a rock face, where he is reputed to have got inspiration for future battles from a spider! With maybe some Ecclefechan tart as we pass through the village we arrive at Lockerbie where after a change at local hotel, a train can take you north or south to Glasgow or Edinburgh or to London.
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